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Law and Society

2012

Meyer v. Nebraska

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The Lawmaking Family, Noa Ben-Asher Jan 2012

The Lawmaking Family, Noa Ben-Asher

Elisabeth Haub School of Law Faculty Publications

Increasingly there are conflicts over families trying to "opt out" of various legal structures, especially public school education. Examples of opting-out conflicts include a father seeking to exempt his son from health education classes; a mother seeking to exempt her daughter from mandatory education about the perils of female sexuality; and a vegetarian student wishing to opt out of in-class frog dissection. The Article shows that, perhaps paradoxically, the right to direct the upbringing of children was more robust before it was constitutionalized by the Supreme Court in Meyer v. Nebraska (1923) and Pierce v. Society of Sisters (1925). In …